Economics of Scale
One of the reasons I wanted to get a DLX mixer was to make it easier to make larger batches of dough. mcs has adequately demonstrated however, that this can be done without any mixer involved. Never the less, yesterday I made a batch that weighed 8.5 lbs when done and produced 4 - 2 + lbs loaves of rustic Irish bread.
My thought was that it isn't much more trouble to bake 2 sets of loaves than 1 and for the cost of flour it makes sense to maximise my baking session. The biggest problem is trying to avoid over proofing the second set of loaves while the first one is baking. Yesterday, I put the second sheet pan in the cold garage for 30 minutes after shaping to slow it down, which seemed to work. My home oven is a standard electric wall oven and doesn't have a convection fan so I don't think baking on 2 shelves is an option, although I haven't actually tried it.
Mike Avery pointed out to me once that you can get much more in the oven in pans than free form. Maybe that should be my next trial. I want to be able to produce enough bread for my family and friends all at once without having it consume the entire day. I like the look of free form but I doubt anyone would care if I used pans, as long as the bread was great.
The end result was I was able to make 4-2 pound loaves in about 2 hours of kitchen time with the oven on and I spent about $2.00 in materials. The preferment started the day before and mixing time was minimal. Does anyone have any ideas how I could improve the process?